PARENTS
25/07/2018 11:58 BST | Updated 25/07/2018 13:16 BST

Is It Safe For Babies To Sleep Outside During The Heatwave?

Two experts settle the debate.

Getting babies off to sleep during the heatwave can be a challenge, so some mums and dads are opting to put their little ones outside for a nap in the fresh air. But is it a good idea?

On Mumsnet, parents have been debating the issue, with some saying they leave their children alone outdoors for short periods of time, while others have raised concerns about insects, heatstroke and foxes. 

Elizabeth Duff, senior policy adviser at children’s charity NCT, tells HuffPost UK it’s okay to let babies sleep outdoors if it is cooler than the house, but you should take precautions. 

“Make sure babies or toddlers are in the shade and kept out of direct sunlight if you’re outdoors,” she says. “Stay with your baby or toddler and check them regularly to make sure they aren’t overheating.”

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Maryanne Taylor, child sleep consultant and founder of The Sleep Works agrees parents should keep a continuous eye on babies sleeping outdoors, which will enable you to respond to any potential problems such as wildlife. 

“Even in the shade, use a parasol or sunshade,” she adds. “Make sure they are dressed appropriately with a nappy and just a vest if very hot. If they appear to be looking sweaty or red cheeked, move them inside.”

With older babies, Taylor warns that moving their sleeping location can cause them to sense a change in routine, actually making sleep less likely. 

“One thing to consider for babies from around five months of age is that the quality of their sleep is likely to be better in their cot as they are becoming more mobile and aware of their surroundings at this stage, and sleeping in a buggy outside may become too distracting,” she says.